Rainy Days with David Eddings

Cyclone season is well and truly upon us here in the far northern bits of Australia.

Looking outside my window at work, the trees across the road are being bowed by the wind, the tarp that I assume was supposed to protect some anal retentive person’s car from the rain has blown off and is flapping about and the rain looks like its falling horizontally.

The noise of the rain on the factory roof is thunderously loud, like thousands of marbles being dropped with humungous force, reverberating around the shed, drowning out even the noise of the massive industrial saws and loudmouthed angry builders.

Days like these are prime days to slip into bed with the doona pulled up to your chin and read a book (while eating a packet of chips, pretty sure that part is mandatory).

Whenever the weather gets like this, I always, without fail, am transported back to a time when I was about 12-13 years old. I’m on school holidays, we’d just moved into our new house, and I was getting busy with reading the Belgariad series by David Eddings, which I’d managed to hide from my parent’s draconian book culling.

queen of sorcery

Queen of Sorcery, Book 2 of the Belgariad, 1984 edition

That’s the only picture I could find on the internet of the editions I had. I had the old 80s versions. Have, I should say. They still reside in my library, even though I haven’t read them in years. I’m vehemently against throwing out books, a trait I clearly did not inherit from my parents.

In fact, it was their evil choice of throwing out several carloads worth of books that began my book collection. When they weren’t looking, I would go and rescue books that looked interesting to me – something that they apparently didn’t even notice until many years later when they borrowed some of my books to reread and noticed their names inside.

Anyway, every time it rains I am immediately transported back to my adventures with young Garion and his motley troupe of companions as they rode across the world chasing the Orb of Aldur.

I loved David Eddings’ books. Some might say that these days those kind of books are a bit average, indeed they are not written with an overabundance of fancy language like Tolkien, or contain as many twists and turns and subplots as George R R Martin. The Belgariad and Mallorean series in particular, focus on Garion, an ordinary boy who finds out he’s a sorcerer and destined to be king, which is the very epitome of the Farm Boy trope, which has become a staple in a lot of subsequent fantasy fiction, but this was my first exposure to the trope so it will always remain my favourite.

The thing I love the most about his books however, is the humour. Cranky 7000 year old Belgarath and sneaky thief Silk have some absolutely wonderful lines and banter, including postulating whether or not someone thrown off a high cliff would bounce. The Tamuli series has some interesting conversational exchanges between a jaded Sparhawk and his daughter Danae (who happens to be a reincarnation of the Goddess Aphrael, a fact unknown to anyone else) and between his wife, Queen Ehlana and the Emperor Sarabian who are plotting to overthrow Sarabian’s government with their own assorted crew of miscreants, varying from thief kings, nobles and knights.

And every time it rains I remember the feeling of reading them all for the first time – and since I’m a very visceral reader, it’s like I’m literally there with them every time.

What does the rainy weather mean to you?

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